[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari(DPDS-22)
profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 17 07:10:14 CDT 2003
FOR NEW READERS of this series, it may be worthwhile to go back to the Introduction about the objective of this Digest and the Note on the Organization (both at advaitin Message No.18425; ambaa-L message no.5273; advaita-L message No.14046; Sadhana_shakti message no.334).
Let us recall that the entire contents of the Digest are from the Paramacharyas ideas and words, including the first person reference to himself, except for my English rendering. Wherever he uses specific English words himself, I have drawn the attention of the reader to that fact. Recall particularly that our Acharya or The Acharya in the discourses, means Adi Sankaracharya.
A Digest of Paramacharyas Discourses on Soundaryalahari - 22
(Digest of pp.861-866 of Deivathin Kural Vol.6, 4th imprn)
The third line of the seventh sloka is:
dhanur-bANAn pAshaM sRNimapi dadhAnA karatalaiH.
Holding by the hands the bow, the arrows, the noose and the spear is the meaning. sRNi means ankusha, the spear. These four are the specifics that determine now the deity of dedication in this stotra. And so we may be certain now that the deity that is being praised is the deity of the ShrI vidyA mantra, namely lalitA-tripura-sundari or Kameshwari. If we are not very technical about it, it is also the same as Raja-Rajeshwari. When ambaaL is in this form, She has four hands, with the noose and spear in the two upper hands and the bow and arrows in the two lower hands. Manmatha, the God of Love has the same bow of sugarcane and the same arrows of flowers.
There are two things: rAga (attachment and liking); and dvesha (hate and dislike). The former gives rise to kAma (desire) and the latter gives rise to krodha (anger). Desire and anger have to be kept in control. Of course all these are born out of the great divine mAyic play of ambaaL. And by the same leelA of ambAL, they disappear by Her Grace (anugraha). The very thought that they will so disappear by Her Grace will help us fight against them.
rAga-swarUpa-pAshADhyA , meaning, She who holds the noose, which is rAga in physical form -- is one of Her many names in the lalitA-sahasranAma. Similarly, another name is krodhA-karAnkushojjvalA, meaning, She who shines by the spear, which is krodha in physical form.
Of the twin of Desire and Anger, desire has the form of ambaaLs noose (pAshaM). When you talk of yama-pAshaM it is the noose. When you talk of mothers pAsham (tAip-pAshaM, in Tamil) it is her attachment and affection and therefore her concern, her desire (AshA). It is the desire that binds us. It binds us like a rope.
Anger has the form of ambaaLs spear. Anger pierces you like a spear. But it does not pierce the other man on whom you are angry. He may go away just like that, indifferently. Our anger pierces only ourselves. The pierce of the spear will be felt by us only. And we hurt ourselves. Modern science tells us how energy is wasted during anger and how much. What is more interesting is the further scientific fact with which our scriptures agree that whereas we exhibit anger (krodhaM) at something we dont like and thus waste energy, the energy loss is more while we like something, desire it and happily indulge in that desire (kAmaM). In fact, Desire is the hita-shatru enemy in the disguise of a friend.
The words pAsham and ankusham both ring a bell and bring the elephant to our minds. The elephant is always tethered by a heavy chain to an anchor. The chain is actually a rope of attachment (pAshak-kayiru, in Tamil) for the elephant. The twins kAma and krodha are elephant-like in their strength; so they have to be controlled with effort in the same way an elephant is controlled by a pAsham (rope) and ankusham (spear). The man who rides and monitors the elphant uses the spear to control it. The elephant-like evils of kAma and krodha are both in the mind. So it is the mind that has to be controlled. In fact in Sivanandalahari (sloka 96) our Acharya compares the human mind to a madhepa, meaning, a mad elephant.
Our ambaaL is always shown with a pAsham (noose) and ankusham (spear). This itself is Her leelA. They are Her important accessories. This is one way of looking at it.
Another way is this. She shows pAsham (affection, attachment) to us; so with the pAsham (noose) in her hand she binds us and pulls us away from all our worldly pAshams (attachments) and makes us come back to Her with the cry Oh Mother!. And that gives us the attachment to the attachmentless Divine. PatratrAn patru (in the language of Valluvar, in Tamil)! Again, when we fall into the Anger mode, She brings her ankusham (spear) on us and subdues our anger, by that very ankusham which stands in her hand as the personification of Anger (krodham) ! When Desire is unfulfilled it turns into Anger. The same Desire and Anger, in Her hands, in the form of the noose and the spear, become the cure for the two evils in human minds.
Though our sloka in the Soundaryalahari mentions bow and arrow first and then mentions the noose and spear, it is the noose and spear that are special to ambAL. Manmatha the God of Love has the same bow and arrows both of which he uses to get mankind downward into sensuality. His bow draws mans mind into sensuousness and his five arrows affect the five organs of cognition.
But the same bow and five arrows in the hands of ambaaL work in a positive way as is vindicated by two names (that appear just immediately after the two names about rAga and krodha I mentioned a little while ago) in lalitA-sahasranAma, namely, mano-rupekshhu-kodanDA and pancha-tanmAtra-sAyakA.
The former means: (She who has) the bow of sugarcane, the sugarcane being the figuration of the mind. The latter name means: (She who has) the five arrows that are the figurations of the five tanmAtras (= subtle principles behind the senses).
The same sugarcane bow, which in Manmathas hands, draws man downward into sensuality, in Her hands, leads us upward by producing the desire for moksha. The same five arrows of flowers, which in Manmathas hands, lead mans five senses outward toward sense objects, in ambaals hands, makes us desire, to see Her divine form, to hear the melody of music in devotion to Her, to taste the sweetness of the nectar flowing from Her Grace, to smell the fragrance of the flowers that adorned Her, and to feel the touch of Her lotus feet.
(To be Continued)
PraNAms to all advaitins and Devotees of Mother Goddess.
Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
My website on Science and Spirituality is http://www.geocities.com/profvk/
You can access my book on Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought Vision and Practice, and my father R. Visvanatha Sastri's manuscripts from the site.
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